Tuesday, April 10, 2018

The Harry Potter Birthday

For my daughter's 11th birthday party she wanted a themed party. All I could think was "EXPENSIVE!!" Being a huge Harry Potter fan turning 11, of course she wanted a Harry Potter party. And with my mom having a pool in June also means pool party. So, I had my work cut out for me. I was not going to buy a bunch of Harry Potter themed things. So, being the crafty person that I am, I made almost everything for this Harry Potter Pool Party. Thanks, Mom!

What did we need?
Gift bags
And since she was turning 11, she needed to be sorted.

I spent the entire month of April that year researching the internet trying to find the best projects that I knew I could do. I could crochet and paint, but otherwise my DIY skills were lacking. After this, I knew I could achieve anything. You should hear the story about my DIY wedding. But that's another post not yet written.

Scroll paper

This was the easiest. We purchased scroll paper and printed the invitations ourselves using what looked like an Old English font. It was fun to sound like we were inviting them to Hogwarts for a pool party. That seems a very un-wizarding thing to do.

I was cheap. I opted for a 1 PM party so I wouldn't have to serve a meal. We served chips, dip, and cheese and crackers. Not everyone has to be cheap. I've seen recipes for butter beer out there. You can buy butter beer at some places like Whole Foods. Pizza is always a winner too. I don't recommend a Hogwarts Feast though. Owl shaped cookies, jellybeans, and chocolate frogs are a few other ideas I had. A quick Pinterest search could give you so many ideas you'll have to create a new board.

Lucky for me, my daughter's grandmother is a professional cake baker. We had her make a white owl cake.  I've seen other cakes with the Hogwarts Crest, House crests, and even cauldron and broomsticks have been on cakes.
The Sorting Hat that I made.
 The Sorting Hat
This is where the fun really begins. There are a lot of sorting hat patterns out there. But the one that I found to be the best came from Allison's CRAFTYisCOOL Blog. Crocheting has been my passion for many years, but this looked complicated. But I succeeded and made this really cool sorting hat. Thanks, Allison!

I put a few drops of food coloring into plastic cups and put them randomly onto a table before the party. As each child walked into the door, they would be whisked away to the Sorting Chair. There, they would pick a cup, write their name in sharpie, then add sprite. The color would reveal which house they now belonged. Red for Gryffindor, Blue for Ravenclaw, Green for Slytherin, and Yellow for Hufflepuff. Then we had a sorting ceremony for my daughter. About a week before, she took her sorting test on Pottermore, but I wouldn't let her see her results. I had already written her name on a cup and put in the color she was assigned. Red for Gryffindor!

Pool Quidditch 
Ok, so Pool Quidditch was nothing like Quidditch. That game is hard to reproduce especially for the few kids who were not Potter fans. We separated the kids into their Houses and tossed pool rings into the pool. We did 3 races to bring in the most rings. Gryffindor VS Hufflepuff, Slytherin VS Ravenclaw. The the 2 winners. I can't remember who won the Quidditch Cup.

Gift Bags
We used the top set. #29 on Tip Junkie
When best friends work together, crafting is extra fun. Mandalyn and I printed these templates from Tip Junkie (#29), laminated them, and cut them out. Everyone was given a set of 7 and the paper cost less than what one bookmark usually costs in a store. Thanks, Mandalyn!

Of course we put candy in the gift bags. What kid doesn't like candy? I recommend butterscotch and find Jelly Belly's every flavored jelly beans if you can find them. I couldn't find them. But I know they exist. I also know they aren't cheap.

My Harry Potter Wand
Yes. My husband (boyfriend at that time) used one of our free Saturdays alone to make Harry Potter Wands. God bless that man. This was one of those projects that took a lot more time than I realized. He stuck with it. He's not a crafter, but he says he likes spending time with me and was willing to help. No wonder I married him. It turned out it was very much worth the time. As far as I know, everyone still has theirs. They were a hit! 2 years later, people still talk about the time we made the wands. Some of my daughter's new friends have even requested that I make more. Maybe one day. A word of advice: It takes 2 days and don't do it while it's raining. Thanks, Mike!

My feather pen

Feather Pens
I learned a few things on this project. One of them being that it is better to buy cheap pens and take them apart than to buy ink refills. This whole project cost me $5 and 2 hours of time to make 20 pens. I bought feathers from Hobby Lobby and 2 packs of cheap pens from Walmart.

  1. Cut the tips off the feathers. 
  2. Take the ball and ink part out of the pens and cut off the end just above the ink. 
  3. Put a little dot of hot glue on the end of the ink tube.
  4. Slide into the feather tube.
  5. Dry
The Gifts
What Harry Potter birthday wouldn't be complete without the entire movie series on DVD for $10? Yes, I managed that. First I found them for $20 at Barnes and Noble. Then found them at Target for $10. She had already received the Book Series in Hardback the previous Christmas. The movies were the next step.

Crochet Dobby the House Elf
Last but not least, a Crochet Dobby needed to be made. The pattern selection out there is terrible. Even the paid ones. I didn't want to pay for a pattern. I had already expended my tiny budget. So what's a girl to do? I had crocheted a phoenix at one time with no pattern. So, I took on the challenge. After 2 weeks, I finally wrote my Dobby the House Elf Crochet Pattern

The Results
Everyone had fun. Even the adults were getting sorted. I couldn't have done it without help though. Thankfully, I have friends and family who are always willing to help. Hopefully you can have fun creating your own Harry Potter themed party for your 11-year-old.